Currently, our community is undecided about how to handle anger. In fact, anger is discouraged as we see no place for it in homes, schools or the community. ‘People in a civil society don’t get angry’ seems to be the conventional wisdom so we bottle it up rather than express it healthily. The trouble is anger handled in this way simmers away making a person unhappy and depressed or it bursts forth in awful, uncontrolled ways.
Here are five ways to help boys (and girls) manage anger in healthy ways:
1. Recognise it – The first step is to help kids recognise that they are angry. What are the signs? What are they thinking? We are all different but tension in the shoulders, restricted breathing and clenched teeth are common signs of anger. The Mood Meter offers a visual way for kids to recognise their emotions.
2. Name it – Developing a vocabulary around anger is important. The more nuanced kids’ language is, the better. Annoyed, angry and enraged are very different emotions but are often described as the same.
3. Choose it – Help children recognise that they have a choice to stay in control or lose control when they get angry.
4. Say it – Encouraging children to express how they feel is okay unless no one is hurt. The use of ‘I Statements’ is one way of letting others know how they feel. “I feel really mad when you say nasty things about me…” is one way of being heard.
5. Shift it – Help children shift their anger to a more pleasant and less energised place. Kids can shift their moods by modifying their thinking or altering their physiology. They may go for a run, play a physical game or pour their anger into a protest letter to let their frustrations out.
The maxim of managing anger in healthy ways is: “There’s nothing so bad that we can’t talk about it. However, there are behaviours that we don’t engage in when we are angry.”
NB: For more parenting tips and tricks, be sure to check out my Parenting Ideas website.
A popular presenter, Michael Grose speaks to parents, teachers and principals on a regular basis.Michael comes from an education background, and has conducted post-graduate research into what makes healthy families tick.He's given over 1500 parenting presentations, including the first parenting seminar in Parliament House, Canberra.Michael is married with three adult children who have all successfully flown the parent nest.